Just five days into the war in Iraq and the New York Times was hopefully reporting that despite a thrilling beginning, American troops had gotten bogged down. This came as a surprise to regular readers of the Times who remembered that the Times thought we were bogged down the moment the war began. The day after the first bombs were dropped on Baghdad, the New York Times ran a front-page article describing the mood of the nation thus: "Some faced it with tears, others with contempt, none with gladness."
Apparently some people greeted the war with gladness: The stock market had its best week in 20 years. What people do with their money is a rather more profound barometer of how people feel than any stupid poll, much less bald assertions by New York Times reporters. The Times subscribes to Arab-style proclamations in defiance of the facts. Like Saddam Hussein, the truth for them has no meaning. They say whatever honor commands them to say.
Five days after the Baghdad Times was morosely reporting that no one viewed the war with gladness, things had gotten even worse. In a single editorial, the Times said our troops were "faced with battlefield death, human error and other tragedies." The task "looks increasingly formidable." There were "disturbing events," and American forces were engaged in a "fierce firefight – an early glimpse of urban warfare." There were "downsides," "disheartening events" and "grievous blows."
We're losing this war! The Elite Republican Guard is assembling outside New York City! Head for the hills! The "fierce firefight" referred to in the editorial concerned a battle in Nasiriyah in which American troops took an entire city with nine casualties. That's what most people call a "triumphal a**-kicking."
CNN's favorite general, Wesley Clark, has also been heard to opine that our troops are getting bogged down in Iraq. His competence to judge American generals is questionable since his command was limited to working for NATO. We prefer to hear from American generals. Clark's contribution to international relations consisted of mistakenly bombing the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. In his zeal to prevent troop casualties, he ordered pilots to fly at such high altitudes that the pilots complained that they were being forced to incur unnecessary civilian casualties.
On MSNBC, Forrest Sawyer compared Iraqi forces killing our troops to American revolutionaries and said the war was likely to turn into a "nightmare." Liberals are like the Republican Guard. They never quit.
American forces have taken two-thirds of Iraq and are fast advancing on Baghdad. Thousands of Iraqi soldiers have surrendered or disbanded, thousands more have been captured, and thousands more have been killed. Meanwhile, American forces have suffered less than two dozen deaths. One can gauge the success of the war by the increasingly gloomy expression on Dan Rather's face. Indeed, Saddam's lieutenants are so demoralized that they have turned to lashing out at the Jews. Saddam's Vice Despot Tariq Aziz says the war is being fought only to "create something called greater Israel." Aziz seems to be positioning himself to run for Congress as a Democrat.
Most auspiciously, the Arab League has appealed to the United Nations Security Council to stop the war. One can only hope the Security Council will agree to intervene. How would they stop us? Would France threaten us with war? Young men across America would have to enlist as a matter of honor. The Army could use as its recruiting slogan: "Are you afraid to fight the French?" Even liberals would enlist as a way to pick up glorious service with no risk of injury.
Not surprisingly, the New York Times gave Saddam's recent speech more exultant coverage than they did Bush's State of the Union address. Since the first bomb hit Baghdad, everyone at the Times had been itching to use the word "quagmire." Somewhat surprisingly, Saddam beat even Maureen Dowd to the punch, thus allowing the Times to use "quagmire" with abandon the day after his speech. Not only that, but according to Saddam – and the Times – the invading forces are "in real trouble." The Times isn't afraid we'll do badly in Baghdad; it's afraid we'll do well.
After the Arab television network al-Jazeera repeatedly ran footage of U.S. prisoners of war over the weekend, the New York Stock Exchange threw al-Jazeera reporters off the trading floor. They ought to remove the Times.